The construction of the A34 bypass in the 1970s significantly affected the built environment. After that Whitchurch experienced much additional development, when privately-built estates replaced swathes of wooded, agricultural and horticultural land, particularly between the centre of town and the London-Exeter railway to the north and the A34 bypass to the west. These consist of relatively large (40 to 70 unit) developments of two-storey linked and detached houses and bungalows.
“Maybe you cannot avoid new housing, but let’s make development in harmony with the current diverse but generally older buildings.”
– Design Day comment
The first of these was built at Kingsley Park, with some bungalows of light brick beyond which is a development whose builders used dark brick, dark timber and dark roof tiles on deep roof lines in a linked “cottage style” design. The estate includes an informal grassed open space that now has a small children’s playground. Other developments of this period include Lynch Hill Park, Bicester Close, King’s Walk, The Rookery, Burgage Field, Hillside, Hartley Meadow, Meadow View, Micheldever Close, Micheldever Gardens, and Charlcott.
A different form of housing development is the static caravan site (D), a long-standing facility that was recently relocated next to Burgage Field.
Housing Association developments have provided affordable housing at Greenwoods and Firsway which have been effectively designed to fit in with the surrounding area. The two/three-storey Seeviour’s Court building constructed in this period provides housing for older residents and is convenient for the surgery, the library and local shops. The surgery itself is a modern facility set on the edge of the town’s Bell Street central car park built on a site formerly occupied by a gasometer and some cottages.
“It is vital to have a commercial centre to the town with shops that offer non-supermarket services. There should be NO empty shops.”
— Public Opinion Survey
Hillside, set in a cul-de-sac on the hillside off London Road, overlooks the Test valley (A) and Caesar’s Way, another cul-de-sac development, lies close to the A34 bypass (B). They comprise 4- and 5-bedroom houses set on relatively small plots with some local authority mandated affordable housing as well as public open spaces and designated play areas.
In the southeastern part of town, the large Knowlings, Aliston Way and Daniel Road estate contrasts with smaller cul-de-sac developments near the primary school and off Micheldever and Winchester roads. The smaller ones have been built on pockets of land made available through the demolition of houses within large garden plots. Feedback from our surveys indicates a general preference for smaller developments rather than large estates of a monolithic design.
Residents have commended the recent introduction of small infill developments in the form of town centre mewses, which sit comfortably behind the main street frontage, without interrupting the building line. They comprise smaller linked or detached housing on small plots with parking space, accessed through narrow vehicular passages off the town’s narrow historic area streets. Examples of these include Clark’s Mews, Test Mews, Town Hall Court and Waterloo Court.
Higher density three-storey buildings have been successfully accommodated in the Long’s Court and Mulberry Mead developments within the town centre.
The construction of the A34 bypass and embankment created a man-made western boundary to the town, leaving an open area between the A34 and the town that may be seen by some as an opportunity for further infill development. However, residents feel that this is not an ideal location for housing, because it is so close to the A34 with its lack of acoustic and visual screening, and that road noise reduction measures are needed as well as substantial and mature tree shielding above road level before further housing development proceeds.